By Rosa M. Gouveia
As we know, Advent is a time to prepare for Christmas and at the same time prepare for the coming of Christ. Yet, in our fast-paced world, we are not encouraged to wait. For many of us, the age-old question remains, “Why wait?”
Generally speaking, we tend to be impatient people who do not know how to wait. We want everything quick and easy, convenient and on the go. It’s simply become a part of our culture of fast food, drive thru, order ahead options and Instacart shopping. We have express lanes on the freeways and in our stores, not to mention self-check-out lines too.
Technology has provided an ever-growing sense of wanting things now, instantaneously and at our fingertips. So, who would want to wait??? In this instant-everything modern age, we get frustrated if we have to wait for any length of time. Waiting feels like time wasted. And who can afford to waste time? We have too much to do and every second counts.
However, our faith tells us otherwise and the Church gives us another perspective on daily living. Advent, which begins this year on Nov. 28, is another opportunity to review, reflect and renew. It provides a time to quietly and attentively wait.
Advent provides us the opportunity to review our relationship with God; to take time in prayer to listen for the voice of God in our daily living. God invites us once again to simply “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
We are invited to stop, to take a break from our hectic schedules and spend time in prayer to pay attention to the ways Christ is present in our daily lives. To discover the many ways God loves us unconditionally and provides for us daily.
It is also a time to reflect. Waiting can teach us so much. It’s up to each of us to stop and pay attention. It forces us to stop and be. What we will be completely depends on each of us, individually. It is ultimately my own choice to respond with a frustrated or patient attitude. Although it is difficult, one can choose to be patient and allow “wait time” to become a time of learning.
Through the years, I have come to learn a few life lessons from waiting. It has reminded me, that although I consider myself a “spoiled child of God” (unconditionally loved by God ... just like you!), the universe does not revolve around me, my wants, needs and desires. I am constantly reminded God is in control and always wants the best for me, even when I think I know what it should be.
When I wait, I realize life is a gift and God will always outdo my gift giving! So, I should pay attention to how God showers me with gifts daily. As I wait, I am reminded nothing but the present moment matters, because it is what I am living. The future is bigger than I can even imagine and my time on this Earth is a part of something much larger waiting for me. It’s Heaven! In realizing that fact, everything changes. It provides a new perspective, as I remind myself, “I’m homeward bound!”
This leads me to a time of renewal: a time to remember I am passing through this world and Christ will come again. It’s a time to renew myself with the presence of Christ who daily waits for me (and you) to allow the Spirit of God to lead us. It’s an opportunity for me to think differently about time and to remind myself that ultimately, this is God’s story and Christ is at the center of it. The waiting helps me think differently about the both the present and the future: valuing the present as a gift, cherishing the future as my ultimate hope.
I pray this Advent season, we all find ways to remind one another that we are a people of hope!
Rosa M. Gouveia is the Director of the Diocesan Office of Catechetical Ministry.